Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Practicing pays

I've been planning to have surgery on my ankle for a few weeks now.  
For many years I've had pain and problems with my left ankle as a result of a wicked ski accident when I was 17.  I've been wearing a variety of different ankle braces for years, and that used to give me some relief.  But, now, the cartilage is gone and the bone on bone thing is just no good.  The past 2 years have been pretty brutal and I find myself not doing things to avoid the ankle pain.  

Recently I was referred to a doctor in Eau Claire who is Podiatrist & an ankle specialist.  He has suggested an ankle fusion to repair the ankle for good.  Ankle fusion is an arthroscopic procedure of putting screws through the bottom of the fibula into the talus.  This fuses the ankle joint.  I already have lost most of the movement in the joint, so I should not see much change in my step.

So, I'm going ahead with this plan on August 20th.  

The recovery includes 8 weeks in a boot, for 6 weeks I will not be able to put any weight on it.  I'll be using crutches and/or a knee scooter.  I'll be able to drive but my plan is to stay close to home.

So, I've been practicing.  I picked up the rental knee scooter early and I've been riding it around the house.  What a wonderful invention for folks who have injuries below the knee!
This thing 'wants' to roll!  I can fly down the hallway on the vinyl.  Of course, once I have a boot on my leg, I'll be taking it pretty easy.  But, the scooter really will make my recovery a breeze.  I can safely and easily get into the shower and any place else I need to go.

Getting up and down the steps to get in the house was of some concern, so I cut down a stool to the right height and now I can kneel on it & move it up and down the steps as I go.  Or I can sit on if I want to do the steps that way.
Being able to kneel and use the hand railing provides a totally stable set up for maneuvering the steps.

So, I've practiced everything I can think of, I think I'm ready.
I'll be sticking close to home for at least 2 weeks after the surgery and likely more, so I've also filled the freezer with some good homemade soups and I've piled up a few books to read, both on my Kindle and on the coffee table.

If the weather is nice, I can be out on the back deck relaxing while my ankle is healing.
If the weather is bad, I've put a riser on my recliner for easy in and out.

Practice make perfect, so I hope it's a perfect 6 weeks for me.

Getting ready for this surgery has given me a chance to review my vulnerability and to think about my future ability to continue to live alone.  Without any family in town who might be somewhat 'obligated' to help, it requires planning ahead and considering the consequences of becoming dependent on someone to help with daily living.
It's not something to dwell on, but planning ahead for my future, to continue to live as independently as I am accustomed, is important.
I confident that having a repaired ankle with give me many, many years of good mobility, but as we are reminded almost daily, these human bodies are susceptible to disease and breakdown, so planning ahead is rarely a waste of time.
I do not regret choosing to live in Rice Lake, a bit of a distance from all family, but it does mean that I have to continue to think for the future and make the right choices from year to year.

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